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Mashed vs. smashed potatoes

Difference, or just marketing-speak?

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  1. I think it's marketing-speak. One and the same.

    1. My understanding is that mashed potatoes are smooth and smashed are left with chunks of potato--not lumpy, but just lightly mashed.

      2 Replies
        1. re: diablo

          I totally agreed, smashed can or cannot have skin but lightly smashed, hench the name, no silky smooth like mashed or the mashed we have all come to love.

        2. I've seen "smashed potatoes" that are small boiled potatoes that are flattened and oiled and either roasted or pan fried until browned and crisp.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chococat

            This is my understanding, too, chococat. When I make smashed potatoes, I use small, red potatoes and literally smash them a few times with my rolling pin, skin on, then dress with olive oil (usually, but butter sometimes), s&p, and whatever other spices / herbs I want to use. Roasting after smashing is optional. The individual potatoes are identifiable as distinct entities.

            I'm fine with calling lumpy mashed potatoes with skin on "country style" or something like that. The big distinction for me is whether individual potatoes are identifiable as such or whether they have been mashed into a collective mashed potato pool.

          2. "Mashed" potatoes are smoothly whipped with cream, butter, etc.
            "Smashed" potatoes, popularized (but not invented by) by Rachael Ray, are more "rustic" or "textured" - with pieces of chunk potato as well as smooth bits. There's still butter or whatever but again it's not smoothly incorporated; there may be pieces of butter or dollops of sour cream.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KiltedCook

              That sounds like "stomped potatoes" or "crushed potatoes". Lazy Man's Mashed Potatoes?

              1. re: Scargod

                Yeah, you are better at marketing than whoever tried to call smashed potatoes lumpy mashed potatoes! I prefer all your names. Or why not just call them "Rustic" Mashed Potatoes since we have to use words like that to explain what "Smashed" potatoes are anyway!

            2. I vote for marketing-speak. After about the first 100 or so times I heard "smashed" it was just too precious for me. MY mashed potatoes have lumps and peels on them (sheesh, sounds like me!)

              12 Replies
              1. re: c oliver

                That's my feeling as well. Mashed potatoes used to be "chunky" or "smooth" -- it sounds like some menu consultant started using "smashed" 'cause it sounded good, and then people started attributing a distinct meaning to the term. "Mashed" potatoes are not "whipped" -- they're mashed. Potatoes that are whipped are "whipped potatoes."

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

                  We have a winner.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    Well, I think Ruth and I are in the minority here but better a winner than a weinie!

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Maybe a minority but clearly we know better!!



                      1. re: c oliver

                        Me, whether it is smashed, mashed or whipped. Who cares really... I just enjoy good potatoes. If we like them smashed great, mashed ok and whipped (never saw that on a menu) however, it doesn't bother me. I love potatoes. I call my mashed whipped am I wrong. They look and taste almost the same. Does it really matter what marketing and society calls them.

                        Thinking of names - blue jeans or jeans or dungarees, or Levis (yes a brand name) but we still think of Levis as just plain JEANS. So what is the difference ... they are still all jeans aren't they, different types and styles like potatoes, but all good ... and basically all just society and marketing names but overall just a jean ... just like a potato ... they are all potatoes.

                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          No, WE don't think of Levi's as "just plain JEANS." My husband retired from Levi Strauss and the company has always worked to keep the brand name from becoming synonymous with jeans. Unlike Kleenex, Pampers, etc. A little known bit of insider info :)

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            Dang woman! Potatoes all alike? There's red ones and brown ones and yeller ones and purple ones and green ones. There's big 'uns and little teeny tiny ones and everthin' in-tween.They even taste differn't too.

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Well you know what I mean, a bit different taste, but gotta love potatoes. And .. If whipped, creamy mashed or smashed (the same type) They are all good. I guess if I ordered mashed and got whipped I wouldn't be upset. If ordered mashed and got smashed I wouldn't be upset. Not baked, roasted, au gratin, ect is all difference, but If they call their mashed ... smashed or mashed or whipped. That is fine with me. To me those are all similar and it is still a potato which I love. It is creamy with some seasoning, milk or sour cream and flavorful, so whatever they call them is fine with me

                              I just usually asked how they are made, do they have the skin on? Are they smooth or more or a lump style. That way I know what to expect.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                Really, there are a lot of things like this, kchurchill! In Italy, a pizza is a pizza is a pizza - and they are all the same with a very few options in toppings. And a cappuccino in Italy, you know what you're getting. But here? Pizza could be pizza...or could be pizza plus all kinds of crazy non-Italy approved toppings, or heck could be on an english muffin! And cappuccino in Italy always the same proportions...here - huge variations!

                                (Don't get me wrong, I'm sure still even with the same ingredients/proportions, etc, there is better and worse in every cafe in Italy, I'm just saying - you won't be very surprised.)

                                So, yeah, let's all just ask the server! Love your sense, kchurchill.

                                1. re: alegramarcel

                                  You may want to note that this thread is several years old and not everyone is still posting.

                                  I also didn't know that all pizzas in Italy are alike. Could you expound on this please?

                  2. Definately a difference! Mashed potatoes should not have lumps, they should be velvety and rich in cream, butter maybe a hint of garlic from the clove that was boiled in the water with the potatoes. These can be piped around a Wellington, on top a Shepard's pie or just plain indulgantly spooned up and eaten as comfort food.

                    Now Smashed is a whole different and wilder beast. It has chunks, from smallish to almost cubes, it has tasty bits of the potato skin in it, it takes on larger flavor partners, garlic, chopped roasted minced, friend onion, scallions, cheese bits, bacon bits, veggie bits. It's a wonderful bed for a great stew or heavy soup.

                    My Special Smashed Potatoes:

                    Very new (the really small ones) potatoes, red, yukon gold are fantastic. If you can find the blue potatoe ones, buy double the amount, because they are SO great you will eat more of them.

                    2 cloves, whole but peeled garlic.

                    Bring to a boil then simmer slowly until just tender the Whole potatoes and garlic. Drain, trying not to mar the skins, you don't need the garlic now, but you can save it to add to another dish. You can at this point allow the potatoes to cool to room temp or refrig for later.

                    To serve:
                    Bring to a good heat, whatever decedent fry material you can bring yourself to use, yes, I do mean bacon grease, or butter or a great olive oil, in a heavy saute pan, cast iron works great. place a potato in the pan, smash it down with a wooden spoon to flatten it, but not break it from being whole, continue until all smashed and frying. A brief sprinkle of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper in the open tops, fry until nice crisp brown, flip, crisp and serve.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Quine

                      My Mom used to lecture me as I made my famous roasted garlic "mashed" potatoes. "You know ______, those are whipped potatoes NOT mashed. I make mashed potatoes, your sister makes mashed potatoes, your Grammy makes mashed potatoes, but that which you make is NOT by any standard mashed but whipped potatoes." I can still hear it to this day. Maybe that is why I am such a literalist. It drives my wife nuts......

                      1. re: Lenox637

                        I am pretty much with you. In my youth, "mashed potatoes" equated to "whipped potatoes." It was not until later, that I encountered "mashed," where the cream, etc. were not included. These often had the potato skin, as well, and later had flavorings, .like horshradish and garlic.

                        To my mother, her "mashed potatoes" could have no lumps, of any kind. She added heavy cream, and ran the hand mixer for an hour. Still, she used the term "mashed potatoes," though others referred to these as "whipped potatoes."


                    2. All smashed potatoes are a species of mashed potato, but not all mashed are smashed. Out of regional/family context, "mashed" pretty much means any sort of potato puree, in my experience. I started to express distate for the extreme cutesieness (overplay?) of the word but you could probably work up a triple digit thread arguing over a better term for chunky mashed potatoes so {shrug?}

                      1. Sounds like there are a lot of ideas about this.

                        Mashed potatoes go through a ricer (at my house) and then are whipped with butter and roasted garlic, shallots, etc.... Smashed potatoes over here are usually boiled new potatoes that I flatten (sqush) and top with plenty of butter, parsley and/or rosemary.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chicgail

                          I'm with you regarding the mashed taters going through a ricer and then whipped, stirred, whatever. I do mine, 3 taters for the 2 of us, with 3 heads of roasted garlic and a stick of butter, just stirred up with a large spoon. If I'm doing smashed, it's done with skin on, cooked, and then pushed down with a masher to get them into chunks, usually adding a half stick of butter and some horseradish and chopped rosemary.

                        2. Really they all fall under in the same boat. They differ in texture. From most to least texure; Smashed, mashed with a wire masher, riced and then whipped. One is just more rustic than the other.

                          1. Smashed and whipped potatoes??? Sounds kinky to me. :-)
                            What next? Spanked potatoes?

                            1 Reply
                            1. Mashed start out smashed, but get taken a step or two further. Smashed may be with or without skin, generally have more texture. Mashed may have some texture, but are more likely smooth to puree in texture.

                              Of course, mashed might be (gag) instant, whereas smashed can never be.
                              All of this IMHO.

                              1. mash em, smash em, whip em, beat em, bake em, fry em.......... YUM!!

                                1 Reply
                                1. I think "smashed" is a cutesy clever trendy word, and I'm ready for it to go away.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                    Me and thee! It's sounds like googoo gaga baby talk which I detest even when used with a baby! When I take potatoes (my preference is Yukon golds), boil them, leave peel on, mash them leaving them very chunky, add butter and cream, S&P ----- I call them MASHED potatoes. You can call them whatever you want but to me that's mashed and it only matter to *me* what *I* call them :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      All I can say is mashed or smashed, they are ALL GOOD! Whatever we call them I have never met a smashed or mashed I didn't like.

                                  2. Ruth,

                                    Good question. I have tried to come up with the first reference to “smashed potatoes,” that I could recall, and believe that it was near Gatlinburg, TN in the early ‘70s. Most of the references were on menus that dealt heavily in “regional dialect,” and colloquialisms. In these cases, the potatoes were usually coarsely mashed - later to be called “skin-on mashed.”

                                    Not sure of the ins-and-outs of the term nowadays, but would *guess* that it is more marketing.

                                    I did see an earlier reference to Rachael Ray. She might have brought the term to the masses, but I encountered it before her birth - I think.

                                    I have also not encountered the crushed small potatoes, that others refer to. Maybe it’s just the restaurants, where I’ve seen the term. BTW, the crushed small potatoes with olive oil sound good!


                                    30 Replies
                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Grama Char (Charlotte) used to call them smashed all the times. In fact she said on the farm her mama hated peeling them so she always had them with skins on. Grama said her mama just mashed them with a spoon or fork. Now I'm 50 so that goes quite a ways back. When my grama first made them they had skins and they were creamy but not smooth, they were SMASHED. I think Rachel did help make the term smashed into something new.

                                      Some don't like skins and that silky smooth white potato on a plate with nice gravies just looked pretty. I think as our country developed and became more food conscious and conscious of more fresh food. Health awareness. A more natural looking potato wasn't that unappealing any more. I always loved the skins, but with the health awareness people now still enjoy creamy potatoes with gravy, but also the smashed version has become acceptable. But ... I can't say that my grama mama started the craze, however I have many stories from my grama and learned to make potatoes from here and smashed they were.:)

                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                        Interesting about the skins. My wife does, and loves, mashed up potatoes with the skin. However, when we have a baked potato, she will not eat the skins. Sometimes, I'll finish hers - hey, more iron, right? Odd, but true.


                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            I do agree, but she has not done so (except with skin-on mashed), since childhood. Her mom also refuses to eat them, as well.

                                            Thinking back to the "smashed" new/small potatoes, I realize that that is what I usually end up with on my plate. They are cooked whole and served that way, but I do "smash" them with my fork, prior to eating them. I think that doing the smashing first, and cooking with garlic and olive oil would be a better way to do it. Next time I see those little guys, I'll grab a few and try the smashing before cooking, thanks to this thread.


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt


                                              Depending on the size of the new potatoes what you want to do is either halve them or quarter them, then boil and then smash them. It's hard to smash them before they are boiled ;-)

                                              1. re: danhole

                                                I know against protocol and beliefs and cooking basics. But I cook in the micro with a few tablespoons of water, covered in saran then removed and smashed. Add any favorites, sour cream, cream, butter, s/p, herbs, cheese, etc. Anything you want. It is 5 minutes or less, simple and quick and honestly, I can't taste the difference It my quick method when I'm short on time is all, but really works.

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  I do that too! Especially since it is just the two of us at home now. I can make it in my glass pyrex bowl and then put the plastic lid on it for the leftovers.

                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                    good and easy especially for a small amount. Good for you

                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                      I didn't know that there's protocol for boiling water :)

                                                      1. re: c oliver


                                                        Kidding, I just figured microwave it not the best use for cooking, but sometimes very helpful. Proper cooking techniques (is that better :) should be or have been the boiling of a potato) My idea of some afternoon humor. Too tired, still working and will be late and doing data entry 50 miles offshore, not much else to do, lol

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Poor Kim just doesn't want to get slammed for using the "M" word!

                                                      2. re: kchurchill5

                                                        I just scrub them and while wet, wrap them in plastic, nuke, smush down with a fork and dress. Technically, just a mashed flat, baked potato. If I make a lot of potatoes I do it the old fashioned way and mash them in the pan with butter and cream.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          Do you poke holes in them before MW?

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I cut mine just in half in big so no,

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              No. I have rubbed them with salt first, but then the plastic usually melts a little. I gave that up.

                                                            2. re: Scargod

                                                              If I am making a "baked" potato then I scrub, poke holes with a fork, lay on a paper towel and cook in microwave. Not as good as in the oven but sure doesn't heat up the kitchen, which is important here in Houston! Lots quicker and easy to smush or smash! And, like Scargod, if it's for a crowd it's on the stove.

                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                Is this to dry them out? I find they stay moister if I wrap them. I don't poke... They may whistle a little while cooking but I've never had them do anything else.

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  I think it makes them cook more evenly, or maybe keeps them from exploding! I'm talking large russet potatoes. I add the moisture after I cut them open, as in butter, and lots of it.

                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                  danhole - to do a real baked potato quickly, Jacque Pepin has a technique I really like - scrub, poke hole, lay on a paper towel, cook in the microwave for 4 minutes, turn over cook for 4 more minutes and then pop into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. They come out great!

                                                                  1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                    Thanks! I will try that next time.

                                                                    1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                      An English GF taught me to roast potatoes. Nuke them till mostly cooked but not falling apart. Slice 3/8" or so thick, put in toaster oven with olive oil and seasonings and roast till brown. Add cheese? Could happen....

                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                        Sounds yummy! I'm all in favor of ways of cooking potatoes that don't require me to fire up the oven, especially since I'm usually cooking for one.

                                                                        The most important thing I've learned about "nuking" my potatoes is that you really have to cook them slightly less than done and let them rest for the best texture -- just like a steak!

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          Ruth, I forgot that step! When I make my baked potatoes in the microwave I always take them out and wrap in foil, letting them finish cooking while I cook the steaks. Now I will have to try jfood's trick and toss on the grill. Good idea.

                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                            If you have that swinging basket (for bread) like jfood's gas weber that's where he places them.

                                                                      2. re: bucksguy14

                                                                        If you have the grill going, jfood does the MV part then wraps in foil and throw on the grill to crisp the skin.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          So even wrapped in foil, they get crisp skin. That's what I dislike about baked potatoes in restaurants. Because they've been pretty much steamed in the foil, I always opt for a different starch choice.

                                                            3. re: scubadoo97

                                                              yeah - but i remember wandering around europe in 1990, and staying with some cousins in frankfort... i noticed they were not eating the potato skis,, i asked "don;t you eat the skins?"
                                                              the answer: "not since chernobyl"

                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          They sound like the Crash Hot Potatoes recipe that's been going around several AOL food boards for the last six months or so. From the Pioneer Woman's cooking link:


                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            And not unlike my version above, where I nuke mine, then slice. Busting them up a bit would help with retaining the added ingredients. Nice idea.

                                                        3. I don't think it's marketing speak at all. To me mashed potatoes have been peeled, boiled and then beaten with a mixer with milk and butter added. They could be a bit lumpy or not, that really doesn't matter, but closer to smooth. Smashed potatoes are usually red potatoes that have not been peeled, boiled and then smashed with a fork or a potato masher, to a consistency being chunky, not smooth. If I ordered mashed potatoes and they brought me smashed potatoes I would send them back. And this is not a RR thing people!

                                                          I recently saw a recipe for smashed potatoes where they said to boil the red potatoes, then remove from water, smash with the bottom of a cup just to flatten, and then put in a fry pan with some olive oil and herbs to finish them up. Seems like a waste of time, but I wonder if it makes a difference in the flavor. I wish I could remember where I saw that.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            There's a recipe for "Panfried Smashed Potatoes" in the March issue of Gourmet that's about like that. Sounds pretty good, I can eat around the cute myself.

                                                            1. re: Samalicious

                                                              Thanks Samalicious! That's probably where I saw it!

                                                            2. re: danhole

                                                              Add a little broth to a saute pan (non stick) or cast iron, cut the reds in quarters and then cover. Cook 5-9 minutes until soft, remove lid to let the remaining broth evaporate, Add some olive oil and butter, herbs and garlic. Pat down in the pan and turn the heat to medium high. Takes just a few minutes per side is all to brown up. So easy.

                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                See my link for Crash Hot Potatoes just above to Bill Hunt from The Pioneer Woman's site.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Which is very close to the recipe that Samalicious reminded me of in the March issue of Gourmet:


                                                                  Both look good.

                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                    Except I'm not liking the frying in the olive oil part - I'd rather just drizzle the potatoes with oil vs. having them fry in it. I prefer "roasted" potatoes (which is what I'd call the Pioneer Woman's recipe - roasted smashed potatoes) - unless it's french fries - and they just need to be fried. :-)

                                                              2. My functional definition is that any restaurant with "smashed potatoes" on the menu is a restaurant I can do without. But hey...I live up to my screen name.

                                                                1. Let's start with the goal-posts. On the left is perfectly creamy, pureed potatoes; the other goal post, whole rosteds.

                                                                  You start with the whole potatoes and then start the mashing process. If youcross over a certain point the roasteds go to smashed. If you continue then at some point they go from smashed to mashed. At what point the transition occurs from smashed to mashed is a personal preference.

                                                                  Mrs jfood like smashed potatoes at times. Jfood peels them boils them and them roughly smashes them with a fork, just to loose their shape. Then jfood takes his portion and continues the mashing until they become much more smashed and cross into mashed.

                                                                  With some butter salt and pepper and maybe a little grated cheese, they're both great.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    My own smashed potatoes are usually White Rose or Yukon Gold, so thin-skinned as to be not worth peeling, boiled until tender and mashed coarsely with just butter, salt and pepper using my heavy-wire hand masher. I'll either serve these as is or, if I'm grilling, give them a quick turn in the veg basket. I'm very fond of both kinds, each in its own place.

                                                                  2. i dunno if it's marketing-speak or rachel ray or what but--
                                                                    every time i hear the term i cannot help but think "hulk smash!".
                                                                    yes, my inner child is quite young...

                                                                    1. Weeellll... I'd never heard of "smashed" potatoes until about five years ago, which leads me to say: marketing.

                                                                      My not hearing of them may be a result of tone-deafness, but we always had mashed, hashed, boiled, baked, fried, frenched, creamed, hasselbacked, Anna'd and so forth. I don't ever remember anyone say *smashed*, though, until marketing of convenience foods ramped up and TV show did the same.

                                                                      Is "smashed" a regional term, perhaps? Anyone know?


                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                                        Don't know if "smashed" is regional, but I do know it was a synonym for "liquored up" when I was younger. I haven't heard anyone use the word that way in a long time. "Did you see X on Saturday night? He was soooooooo smashed!"

                                                                      2. I never thought it was either; I always thought it was a semi-popular cutesy version of kid-talk, kind of like saying 'sketti' or 'pisghetti' instead of 'spaghetti'.

                                                                        1. I weigh in on the marketing side. My theory...The casual diner goes into a restaurant and sees on the menu Baked Chicken and Mashed Potatoes, the diner knows what he’s getting – something familiar they’ve eaten since they were a child. But, if it’s Baked Chicken and Smashed Potatoes, they think, hmm? Smashed, that’s different, I’ll try that!

                                                                          The next step once smashed is a as common as mashed? Baked Chicken with hand-crushed potatoes...hmm, that’s different, I’ll try that! LOL

                                                                          This discussion is a sister to this one - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5993...

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: cuccubear

                                                                            I'd like those hand-crushed potatoes with maybe "oven-basked" chicken. In fact, hurry, let's go get some RIGHT NOW! Before everyone finds out about this HOT, NEW thing!

                                                                            P.S. The "(Not About) Food words" thread was a classic and so hysterical!